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Full text of "Linguistic Survey Of India Vol V Part I Indo Aryan Family Eastern Group"

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INTRODUCTION.                                                              5
A£oka, king of the city now called Patna, whose proclamations in the vernacular of his
time date from about 250 B.C., and were scattered over the north of India, and even as
far south as Mysore. These proclamations still exist, and the language in which they
are; couched is readily divided, according to the localities in which the inscriptions
have been found, into an eastern and a western dialect This language is commonly
called Pali, and represents the same stage of development as that form of speech in which
the Buddhist scriptures have been recorded.
live centuries later we find the Aryan vernacular of India still further developed.
It is now called the c Prakrit * or * natural* language, as opposed to the artificial
Sanskrit/ We find specimens of it in the dramatic compositions of the time, in poetical
works, in contemporary inscriptions, and in the literature of the Jains.  It thus attracted
the attention of native scholars and several contemporary grammars were written which
dealt with its peculiarities.   Taking the state of affairs thus reported as existing in
about the eleventh century A.D., we find that the main division of the then Aryan
vernaculars of India coincided with that which we have observed as existing in the time
of Aloka, but that the process of fission had proceeded much further.   A large number
of dialects existed covering the whole of Northern and Central India, which, if we exclude
the languages of the extiome North-West, naturally grouped themselves into two
main collections, an Eastern and a Western.   If we confine ourselves to the valleys
of the Jamna and of the Ganges, we find two principal languages spoken, one,
Sauraseni, with its head-quarters in the Doab, which belonged to the Western, and
another, called Magadhi, with its head-quarters in the country round the modern
Patna, which belonged to the Eastern Group.   These two languages met and merged
into each other in Oudh and the country across the Ganges to its south, and formed
9, dialect partaking partly of the nature of §auraseni and partly of the nature of
Magadhi, which was known as Ardha-Magadhi or ' Half -Magadhi/   Of these three
languages, Sauraseni became the parent of Bra] Bhasha and its connected dialects,
including standard Hindi;   Ardha-Magadhi of the dialects which are now known as
Awadhi, Bagheli, and Chhattisgarhi, and which I have grouped together under the name
of Eastern Hindi; and Magadhi of all the languages of the Eastern Group of Indo-Aryan
vernaculars.   Just as the Eastern vernacular of A£dka's time branched out into a
number of dialects, of which Magadhi was the principal one, so Magadhi, in the
course of centuries has, in its turn, developed into four separate languages, of which
Bengali and Bihari are the principal.   Indeed this process of fission had  already
commenced during Prakrit times, for the latest indigenous grammarians of that
language mention amongst the varieties of Magadhi, a Gaudi, a phakki, and an TJtkall
or Odri.   Bihaii is the direct descendant of Magadhi and is spoken in its original home.
Gaudi is the parent of the Bengali of Northern Bengal and of Assamese.   Spreading to
the south-east, Magadhi developed into the Bengali of the Gangetic Delta, and still
further towards tie rising sun, phakki (or the Magadhi of Dacca) became the modem
Eastern Bengali   Onya is the representative of the ancient Utkali.
it now remains to consider the characteristics of the Eastern Group of Indo-Aryan
Distinguishing characteristics   vernaculars, which differentiate them from languages of other
of the Eastern Group.               groups, and in which they agree amongst themselves.   In
classifying languages, grammax rather than vocabulary must be taken as the test, and,